For the first time in over two years, Australia’s airports have witnessed tearful moments and celebrations as the country reopened its borders to international tourists.
More than 50 aircraft were scheduled to arrive today Monday (21st February), and visitors can now access all states except Western Australia, which is closed until 3rd March.
More than 14,000 passengers are expected to fly to Australia this week, according to Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who said reservations had been “high” since the reopening plans were disclosed earlier this month.
Joyce said: “It’s fair to say we’ve all been waiting a long time to welcome visitors back to Australia. The thousands of international tourists arriving this week and many more over the coming months will help kickstart the tourism industry which has done it tough for the past couple of years.”
“We can clearly see from the Australian government’s announcement that people are very keen to come back to Australia, and we continue to see strong bookings out of the US and UK, as well as South Africa and Canada.”
Arriving passengers were greeted with live entertainment, Australian-themed presents, and a 75-meter “Welcome Back World!” sign at Sydney Airport. “, a message painted on the ground next to one of the runways.
Dan Tehan, Australia’s minister for trade, tourism, and investment, and Phillipa Harrison, Tourism Australia’s managing director, were also on hand to greet visitors.
Passengers were greeted with a red carpet welcome in Darwin and given the opportunity to meet Aboriginal cultural and education organizations, as well as Netflix TV host and local tourist icon Matt Wright.
Tourism Australia, which recently launched its Come and Say G’day – Don’t Go Small campaign, said Harrison. Before the reopening of the border, the Go Australia campaign in the UK was ecstatic to welcome back overseas travelers, whom she described as “a key component of the economy.”
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